From the moment our lives begin, our bodies need a watchful balance of nutrients for growth, development, and to lay the foundation for our health and wellbeing throughout our lifetimes. This balance is acquired through continuous monitoring and alterations to our diets to ensure adequate intake of nutrients that are required as we grow.
Several studies have mentioned that our body’s requirement of nutrients varies at each stage of life. The younger generation needs an ample amount of nutrients to support growth and ensure that a strong foundation for good health is laid. Elderly people on the other hand, are less likely to absorb nutrients, especially multivitamins from food, making multivitamins more important for them.
As we grow older, we need to start considering the supplements we require to compensate for the loss of nutrients or lack of nutrient absorption in our bodies. That said, we also need to consider supplements that are void of chemicals that can potentially do more harm than good. Let us take a look at some nutrient supplements that are required at various stages of our lives.
Nutritional needs of babies and kids
Maintaining a well-balanced diet in the infant stage of life is paramount as it becomes the base for our overall health throughout our lives. For the first six months, infants need to be breastfed as it provides all the nutrients the baby requires. For infants over 6 months, supplementing vitamin A, C, and D is recommended by the Department of Health. While Vitamin A contributes to healthy skin and eyesight, Vitamin C helps in the basic function of bones, and Vitamin D contributes to a healthy immune system.
As they grow older, the nutrition requirement changes. Most kids are known to be notoriously fussy eaters and negligence can result in a deficiency of various vitamins and minerals in the body. For physical energy, multivitamins and mineral supplements can compensate for kids who don’t get enough of them through food. a healthy immune function and brain require omega-3 fatty acids and good gut health requires probiotics. Chewable probiotics are available in the market for kids who don’t prefer consuming yogurt and other probiotic-rich foods.
Adolescence to Adulthood
When it comes to adolescents, their bodies change rapidly and they often need a boost of vitamins and minerals since they are prone to developing poor eating habits. These habits mostly comprise of junk food that is fried and contains little to no nutritional value. Adolescents, therefore, require an increased intake of vitamins and minerals such as calcium, phosphorous, zinc, iron, omega-3, and magnesium to increase bone density, improve brain function, immunity and skin, and reduce hormonal imbalance.
As they transition into adulthood, micronutrients should be included in their diet. Males require more Vitamin B such as B1, B2, B3, in addition to Vitamin C, magnesium, zinc, chromium, and manganese. Menstruating females require more iron as compared to males right from adolescence.
As we age, our bodies struggle to absorb essential nutrients, thereby making supplements important to maintain our health and wellbeing. The main functions of supplements that need to be taken in old age are to keep joints lubricated and working, ensure good brain and heart health, maintain sharp memory, and keep our immune systems strong.
At each stage in our lives, our bodies’ nutrient requirement changes. However, one thing remains the same – at every stage of life, our lifestyle and diet must be taken into consideration and nutrition supply must be altered accordingly. A well-balanced diet and adequate nutrient intake through fruits, vegetables, and chemical-free, vegan supplements combined with regular, moderate exercise will allow us to remain healthy and fit throughout our lives.